Last week, Nordstrom was on campus. Between internship information sessions and a “Get Hired” networking event, the recruiters from Nordstrom shared their enthusiasm for their company while also providing students with practical tips and tricks to get hired in the retail industry. While their tips were partial to the retail and fashion industries, their tips can be applied in a myriad of fields – they are universally outstanding professional development helpers. Continue reading for more information on what to wear in professional settings, how to act before, during and after an interview and how to brand yourself to truly stand out as a candidate.

– First Impressions –

Professional image is everything. In the professional world, first impressions are everything. This not only matters in the interview, but the first time you meet someone, when you’re at networking events, and even when you’re in the offices for your interview and talking to people besides your interviewer. Be aware of how you act and speak towards the doorman, the receptionist, and other employees – your interactions with everyone matter greatly.

– Attire –

When choosing your outfit, keep these 5 things in mind:

  1. It’s always better to be overdressed [so if you’re contemplating what to wear, choose the dressier option]
  2. Nothing too short or overexposing
  3. Dress appropriate to your industry [ex: finance is obviously much more business professional than graphic design or fashion]
  4. Dress comfortably so you aren’t fidgeting or adjusting [try your full outfit on before the interview so you’re comfortable with it]
  5. Incorporate your personal style [even if you have to dress in full business professional, add a pop of color or a fun necklace to liven things up and make it your own]

5 Must-Have Basics for Women:

  1. White blouse [not low cut or tank top style]
  2. Jacket [tweed, blazers and pops of colors are great!]
  3. Skirt [pencil or full, knee-length, not too tight or short]
  4. Trousers [well fitted and tailored]
  5. Colorful, printed tops [helps make the outfit your own]

5 Must-Have Basics for Men:

  1. Suit [navy, black or charcoal – stick to the basics]
  2. Button-down [again, stick to solids or simple patterns]
  3. Ties
  4. Belt [make sure the color matches your shoes]
  5. Socks + Shoes [socks can be a fun way to accessorize and for men to show their personal style]

Details matter in your interview. Remember that:

  • Clothes should be pressed and fit perfectly [get things tailored!]
  • Don’t chew gum [extremely distracting]
  • Moderate makeup and perfume [everything in moderation!]
  • Wear hosiery if appropriate [looks much more put-together than bare legs]
  • Nails should be clean and well-manicured – hygiene matters!

– The Interview –

Preparing for Your Interview:

  1. Study the job description. Know what you’re applying for!
  2. Anticipate questions you may be asked and know how you’ll respond
  3. Practice interviewing out loud [utilize the Career Center’s interview prep sessions!]
  4. Learn about the company’s culture and history
  5. Know how to get to your interview and know who you’re specifically interviewing with

Know what your strengths are. Interviews are a time to brag (in moderation) about what you’re particularly good at. They’re a time for employers to get to know you, so highlight your strengths. How do you know what your strengths are?

  • Reflect on your biggest achievements
  • Think about what you enjoy most about classes or previous jobs
  • Significant strengths are inner-motivated. They’re what come naturally to you and what you love.
  • Once you know your strengths, find a way to incorporate those into your interview answers!

During the Interview: Top 5 Tips:

  1. Show your enthusiasm at the door [eye contact, hand shake, in your voice]
  2. Be positive and always emphasize your strengths rather than any weaknesses
  3. Listen carefully and ask for clarification if you don’t understand a question
  4. Be mindful of your body language
  5. Keep answers to the point, and give as many examples of previous accomplishments as possible

We also want to extend a huge thank you to Nordstrom for coming to GU!